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Full text of "Alexander von Humboldt"

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88                                 LIFE  OF
that he finds it difficult to classify the impressions ho
receives. With every step he thinks to find a now
specimen, and in this frame of mind he often fails to
recognise those which are most common in our bo-
tanic gardens, and our historic collections.w
The celebrated peak Teyde on. Teneriffo, from whose
appearance H/umboldt had anticipated great pleasure,
•was concealed by the mist of the atmosphere. AB
this rock is not covered by eternal snow, it is indeed
rarely visible at a great distance, oven though its
sugarloaf point reflects the white colour of tho pumice
stone which covers it? as blocks of black lava and a
fertile vegetation surround it. When Humboldt and
Ms companion had arrived at Santa Crux, on Tono-
riflk, and had received from the governor,, in COHHO-
quence of their recommendations from tho court of
Madrid, permission to make excursions in the iwlaiuL,
they made use of it the same day, after having boon
welcomed and entertained in the most friendly man-
ner in the house of Major Axmiago, commander of a
regiment of infantry. In the garden of their kind
host., Humboldt for the first time saw the banana troo,
hitherto only known from conservatories, tho papaya
(melon tree) and other tropical plants., growing in the
open air. As, on account of the English blockade,
the ship on which Humboldfc travelled could only bo
permitted to remain four^or fivo days, H/umboldtTaud
Bonpland hastened to reach the port of Orotavu, and
thence to take a guide to the peak. On the way, they
met a quantity of white camels,, which are hero tiwoll
as beasts of burden. But it was the ascension of the
peak of Teneriffe on which Humboldt had fixed his
greatest expectations. A "beautiful road led, from
Laguna, a town situated 1620 feet above tho sea? to
the port of Orotava, and then a landscape of incom-
parable sweetness surrounded him. Dato and cocoa
nut trees cover the coast, higher up the mountains
flourish dragon trees, vines cluster round the preci-
pices, and the occasional chapels peep out between
orange trees, myrtles and cypre^es; all the walls arc